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Tuesday, 28 November 2023 12:19

[OPINION] There Is No Leadership Problem in Nigeria - Jesutega Onokpasa

A video of a woman lamenting how she was cheated of three "painters" of rice from a bag that should contain twelve but turned out to have only nine, has gone viral on social media.

The seller had, of course, simply opened the bag, creamed off three "painters", resealed the bag and sold it as a bag of twelve "painters" to the unwitting public.

This insanity of "decapitating" a bag of rice is actually pretty old and I even remember it from at least as far back as the Shagari years when a certain Umaru Dikko was in charge, not of rice production but of its importation!

I once read a chapter of the Holy Bible wherein God excoriates those who deploy fraudulent weights and measures to cheat their customers and you would think such underhandedness should have perished centuries, if not millennia, ago.

Then one of my gatemen told me a story of how his wife had sent their son to buy 8 cups of rice at Sapele Main Market and how the seller, a young lady, had somehow managed to sell him only 6 cups by surreptitiously flipping the cup and using the underside to scam the little boy of 2 cups!

In this country, citizens go to a public hospital and those who delight in striking all the time for higher remunerations treat them as if they had no right accessing a public facility, in the first place.

Labour went on strike because its leader was slapped but not because Naira redesign did not merely slap but actually killed Nigerians.

It is perfectly okay for these hypocrites, who clearly don't understand trade unionism, to seek to shut down the entire country in protesting the pulling down of a demonic stronghold called subsidy but not to protest the nonpayment of minimum wage.

They give you dollar to build a refinery, you apparently roundtrip it and an already commissioned refinery is still not completed till today.

Take some perfectly ordinary youth from his remote village, give him a uniform, hand him a gun and you have unleashed an unhinged bully denigrating his fellow citizens as "bloody civilians".

During Naira scarcity, one "supermarket seller" in Asaba charged me 13,000 naira to hand me 10,000 naira notes.

He turned out to be an "Obidient" and asked me if I thought Peter Obi would win the election.

I took a hard look at him and decided it wasn't necessary to tell him I was a member of Bola Tinubu's campaign team.

Instead, I simply told him that fleecing someone a 30 percent premium on naira notes he'd been handed by his customers and hadn't paid a commission for is more than enough for that person not to vote for Peter Obi.

He had nothing to say for his hypocrisy.

I'm sure if I ran into him today, it will still be President Tinubu's name he would self-righteously insert into every complaint, real or imagined, he has about a country whose problems he is a reliable and consistent contributor to.

Nigerians keep consoling themselves that their problems come from "bad leadership" and are not their own fault as if their leaders come from Antarctica or fell from the sky.

There is no leadership problem in Nigeria; there is a "Nigerian" problem in Nigeria.

If I was Lanre Issa-Onilu, confronting Nigerians with the inconvenient truth of our brazenly self-contradicting hypocrisy will be the top priority of the National Orientation Agency, going forward.

It's time we told ourselves some bitter truths that should set us free.


Onokpasa, a lawyer, was a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, and writes from Abuja.

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